“I Lay Out the Pieces of My Life…”
Finding Health and Wholeness in Psalm 5.
Moving through Paths of Morning Ritual
I was on the trail this morning. The sun was out. The air was cool for July. Shadows crossed an earthen path beneath an arch of trees.
“This is sanctuary,” I thought to myself, “one of the many.” The meandering path (a little over a mile) wound its way through a forest up and down hills. It was quiet, but for the sound of an occasional bird or breeze. I prayed.
External and Internal Landscapes
The poet in Psalm 5 is up early. We can imagine a person meandering through the paths of her internal landscape as she prays:
“Every morning I lay out the pieces of my life…
I am here as your invited guest… I enter your house…
waiting for directions to get me through… (Ps. 5, The Message).”
Finding Perspective Amidst the Happy and the Hurt
In nature as in prayer, the poet finds sanctuary. Here, she lays out “the pieces of her life…,” the happy and the hurt. This is the place where she finds desire again, but also meaning, wisdom and will. This is no mere intuition alone, but an encounter that brings perspective from another place.
The Risk of Holy Space
The Psalmist believes this to be holy space, a remove-the-sandals-from-your-feet kind of space. A mother labors for the sake of her child. A father welcomes a prodigal home. Holy spaces are often thought to be safe spaces. They’re not. These are risky spaces where life-decisions are made, resolutions are formed and imaginations are stirred toward acts of well-being.
Nothing Short of Redemption
I continue down a winding path. I am older now, but still manage to traverse my way above roots and stones. I fall sometimes, but I’m not yet ready to quit. I identify with Psalm 5 and this notion of holy space and practice that puts life back together in stronger, more meaningful ways. Health. Healing.
Henry David Thoreau once reflected, “…no part of the earth is so low that the heavens may not be seen from.” Psalm 5 is a continual reminder that where there is faith, hope and love, the relentless and undomesticated forces of heaven surround us with life, movement and new forms of being.
“Spread your protection over them,
so that those who love your name may exult in you (Ps. 5:11, NRSV).”